We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Diagnostic errors remain the leading reason - or excuse - for medical malpractice lawsuits by the swarms of hungry sharks which parasitize American's fine physicians - the best physicians in the world. Kevin, MD.
All the more reason for docs to be irrational - or rationally irrational - in spending your money (either yours directly, or the insurance company's money - which was your money).
If you have a headache, I am going to order an MRI of your head which will cost you between $700-1100 in my area. I know darn well that you don't have a tumor, but I could be wrong 0.3% of the time. So I'll order the MRI, because you will want me to, and my law suit defensiveness will want me to. Still, I will know that it is poor medicine.
Indeed, I know that your particular pattern of headache, and your exam shows it to be a Common Migraine, and not a tumor, not an aneurysm, not a stroke or subdural, etc. And I know that all sorts of guidelines have been constructed, such as these. Well, you can toss the guidelines for all I care.
applies beautifully to modern medicine. There is almost no end to the amount of your money we can spend to try to reduce our False Negative rates - our Type 2 errors. And they will occur, regardless.
It is very unpleasant to be sued. It damages a doctor's enjoyment of his art, it absorbs huge amounts of time and energy, and it damages his relationships with all of his patients. And, finally, it has nothing to do with his competence and everything to do with the greed and litigiousness of his patient.
I pay 42,000/year for malpractice insurance as a GP, and I have never been sued. I know guys who pay 160,000. You are paying those bills.
I haven't been to the doctor in maybe twenty years. I just kind of out-lasted all the little things, and I've been blessed with more than my share of good luck, which dovetails nicely with the fact that I've been cursed with a visceral dislike of medical facilities, ingrained from some negative early childhood experiences.
Approaching fifty, and lately little things aren't shaken off quite so readily, so I went in for a visit after more than a few maladies added up. After the requisite testing the doc said, "I've got some good news and some bad news... which do you want first?"
The good news, of course. Says the doc, "Well, you're going to have a new disease named after you."
Obama faces a bigger problem than McCain on tort reform.
As President Obama he would have an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress. One totally in favor of extending rather than limiting torts.
So Obama would have to fight with his supporters and they would retaliate by not cooperating on other matters.
The Democrats aren't going to cooperate with a President McCain anyway. And we all know it. So he wouldn't lose anything by insisting on tort reform. He wouldn't get it but the issue could hurt the Dems in 2010.
Tort reform must come out of Congress and legislatures. But very few members of those bodies will benefit from reform. Many more would lose. Legislators often continue private law practices. And campaign contributions from lawyers are not trivial.
But perhaps the biggest obstacle is that politicians don't take on futile causes that are certain to make them enemies. It is just easier to avoid the battle.
The medical establishment has less incentive to limit torts than one might think. They buy insurance and those costs pass through to patients and society. At heart their objection is that they are forced to practice defensive medicine. And that is bruising to the ego.